SC East Bengal took a 2-1 lead to half-time, but two goals each from Paul Ramfangzauva and Jerry Mawihmingthanga were instrumental in Odisha FC's victory.
SC East Bengal manager Robbie Fowler was on the touchline once again after serving his suspension, and he made nine changes to the line-up following the defeat against NorthEast United FC.
On the other hand, Steven Dias stuck with a lot of youngsters, despite going down to Mumbai City FC with a 1-6 scoreline in the previous game.
SC East Bengal started the game well with Aaron Amadi-Holloway going for an early shot. Odisha FC skipper Vinit Rai gave away a free-kick, but Narayan Das’s delivery went straight to the goalkeeper Ravi Kumar. The exciting Bright Enobakhare tried to take on the young right-back Lalhrezuala Sailung, but he came up short on a couple of occasions.
SC East Bengal seemed to be struggling up top as the duo of Anthony Pilkington and Enobakhare were not on the same wavelength. There was a moment of concern for Odisha FC custodian Ravi Kumar, when he tipped Surchandra Singh’s cross onto the post before it went out for a corner.
SC East Bengal eventually took the lead in the 24th minute when Pilkington received a ball from midfield, and raced to the box, before unleashing a vicious strike to the bottom-left corner.
After the cooling break, the Kalinga Warriors equalized through a maiden ISL goal from Lalhrezuala. Brad Inman’s corner-kick resulted in a goal-mouth scramble with Lalhrezuala finally stabbing it past Subrata Paul.
Just a few minutes later, the Red and Gold Brigade regained their lead through an own goal from Ravi Kumar. It was an innovative SC East Bengal corner-kick routine that saw Jacques Maghoma whip in a strong cross into the middle. Amadi-Holloway tried to kick it in amidst a lot of players, but Manuel Onwu intercepted the ball and kicked it straight at Ravi Kumar’s face, before it went into the back of the net.
Odisha FC got an early chance in the second half, but Tratt headed high from a Brad Inman free-kick. It didn’t take long for them to equalize as Paul Ramfangzauva got himself on the scoresheet. Paul received a square pass from Inman and produced an inch-perfect shot to the bottom-right corner of the goal.
Just two minutes later, Odisha FC made it 3-2 with Jerry Mawihmingthanga’s first goal of the season. Tratt’s free-kick was over-hit, but Onwu did well to keep it in play before delivering an inviting cross to Jerry, who headed it past a rooted Subrata.
At the other end, Amadi-Holloway released a low shot from distance to beat Ravi Kumar and open his ISL account. Out of nowhere, Paul bagged his second goal with a neat finish to the left of Subrata, who failed to make any attempt of saving it.
It didn’t take long for Jerry to add one more goal, when he scored with a stunning volley, after Mauricio dinked a superb assist for him.
Odisha FC made it 6-3 with Mauricio’s low shot from a free-kick which was awarded just outside the box. The Kolkata giants made a late comeback with substitute Jeje Lalpekhlua heading the ball past Ravi Kumar, after Pilkington guided an Enobakhare cross to him.
Amadi-Holloway came up with SC Bengal’s fifth goal in stoppage time with another header. In the end, Odisha FC held onto the 6-5 lead.
Who was the Hero of the Match?
Odisha FC’s promising midfielder Paul Ramfangzauva bagged the ‘Hero of the Match’ award for coming up with two well-taken goals.
Paul earned a lot of appreciation for his creativity and composure in central midfield. The 21-year-old maintained a passing accuracy rate of 68% and also came up with three successful tackles and two interceptions.
He could be one of the key players in the Odisha FC set-up for the 2021-22 ISL Season.